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About Khentrul Lodro Thay | Photo | His Website
Khentrul Lodro Thaye on Bodhichitta
Khentrul Lodro on Calm Abiding Meditation (from 10/24)
Khentrul Lodro Thaye on Bodhichitta and Practice 10/25/03 Minneapolis (notes from)
Any errors are the fault of the note taker, not of the teacher.
That which changes our mind is the method, all spiritual paths/religions. The method protects us from negative actions or karma. All religions have the same goal of ultimate happiness. There is only a difference in application; some are more effective.
The basis is avoiding harming any other beings in speech, body or mind.
In Tibetan Buddhism the best and fastest path is gradual. Even a scattered practice can have benefit. But it is best to follow an order of practice. It is important to get the key points.
PART I - First develop authentic, pure motivation. This is the foundation.
Also meet with qualified spiritual friend (teacher). They can help you throughout the path. Continue to train in the four thoughts. Continue to work on bodhichitta. The key points on meditating on Bodhichitta will follow. Meditate on the emptiness of all phenomena. Understand emptiness well. Understand our Buddha nature, our own true nature and the cause of our own enlightenment. How is the Buddha nature in us? Ask the teacher. The teacher has special insight into unity and calm abiding.
The teacher is the basis for tantric practice. You only need one diety practice done well. Maha yoga is engaging in diety visualization and mantra. Ani yoga works on the subtle channels. We need to develop timeless awareness of our own true nature. Our mind goes 100% change. The teacher does pointing out instruction with us. Need to do all this before higher practice.
Need to do the ngondro short practice. All the key points are in 4-5 pages. It is very important to come to an understanding. Shinatta and vispassana practice takes 2-3 pages. Hear the teachings, contemplate, and practice. With Dzogchen the teacher with one word or one gesture, one moment when you are ready, will cause your understanding and enable you to see your own nature. There will be rejoicing with knowing.
Dharma is practiced through intellectual questioning and understanding.
If it doesn’t benefit the mind then it is not dharma. Apply dharma to your mind no matter what lineage. Blend/mix it with your mainstream practice. We always benefit from dharma practice. Apply it to our experiences. Negative experiences will become less and less; if worsens then it is not dharma practice. Your compassion grows. Look at your own experience.
The three excellencies – the method to insure perfection
- the beginning – bodhicitta intention
- the middle – indestructible virtue, understanding emptiness
- the ending – dedication of merit, this increases merit endlessly
Excellence is embraced by skillful means. It is the motivation behind action.
It is best to apply the three excellencies to any practice. Enlightened intention is bodhicitta. For enlightened attitude you need to develop Bodhicitta. These conditions are the flower: Bodhicitta is the beginning or the seed; the middle is the heat and soil; the end is the flower in full bloom.
Develop Bodhicitta so it becomes your experience. Bodhicitta is two fold. First see the suffering in all sentient beings. A compassionate wish is not enough. You need to wish that they reach complete freedom, that is Buddhahood or enlightment or the great perfection of wisdom. We develop this through training, until it becomes our continual experience. We need to develop this to the best of our ability. Pretend until it becomes our experience. Enlightenment only comes with Bodhicitta. The entire path and enlightenment has Bodhicitta at our core. Before prostration or any practice, cultivate Bohicitta.
The three virtuous motivations:
Bodhicitta is wanting all beings to reach enlightenment. Never thinking about our own benefit. Only thinking of others, never worrying about ourselves.
- engage in practice in order that I may have temporary relief from suffering
- free from all existence for myself alone
- free all beings from suffering
Analytical mind training
Primarily looks at motivation. To create the causes for happiness by virtue. Negative intentions and actions, such as anger towards others, are adverse to our own happiness. Negative intention hurts others and ourselves. Need to reverse the mind, look out and benefit others. Turn the mind inside out. We’ve been searching for happiness. We’ve mistaken the path. Change to the honest path; get rid of the degenerate path through practicing the Four Immeasureables: equanimity, loving kindness, compassion, and joy.
Equanimity for all sentient beings. All beings have attachments and aversions/anger in their mindstream . We have attachment to our family and anger towards others. This is our bias. We need to loose this. It is a very narrow scope. We need to see that all beings have this bias. “May all beings be free of attachments and aversions.” Meditate on this, cultivate this again and again. Start with one person, recognize they have a bias. Say:
- Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were free from attachment and aversions.
May they be free from attachment and aversions.
May I help them to be free of attachments and aversions.
I will pray to the three jewels so that all beings will be free from attachments and aversions.
When bias starts falling away then work on the second Immeasurable.
Loving kindness for all sentient beings who have not found happiness. May all sentient beings find happiness. Start with someone we love, make a wish for them. Then your whole family, your friends, and friends with no connection.
- Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they find happiness.
May they find happiness.
May I help them find happiness.
I supplicate the three jewels that they find happiness.
Compassion. Recognize that all sentient beings are suffering.
- Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all beings were free from suffering.
I wish that they be free from suffering.
May I help them to be free from suffering.
I supplicate the three jewels that they be free from suffering.
Joy is rejoicing in other’s happiness even though it may be temporary and brief.
- Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all beings were never separated from their
I wish that they never be separated from their happiness.
May I help them to be never separated from their happiness.
I supplicate the three jewels that they never be separated from their
Do one Immeasureable prayer a day. Work up to doing it for all beings without exception.
We want a kind hearted attitude. This cannot be bought; not through bombs, quarrels, pain, terror, nor war.
This is difficult.
Through beginning-less time
We have been habituated
Only thinking of ourselves
More rare than finding a precious dharma jewel
Source of all happiness and peace
Train this mind
Over and over.
Think what if would be like if all beings cultivated this right at this moment.
PART II – Main part, the non-referential middle, action, engagement
Recognize grasping and fixating on all phenomena as real; this is a mistaken perception. All confusion arises here. The outer universe, beings, sensory experiences etc. are just like the universe in our dreams. The habitual patterns of the mind creat our daily experiences. This is an optical illusion like a reflection on water; not true existence. Study logic. Contemplate emptiness. Engage in virtuous activity. We hold to three spheres of self, others, and action. But, this does not exist. When doing prostrations, recognize emptiness.
PART III – Dedicate the merit.
Doing this for a gathering of wealth/merit in the future. We make it inexhaustible by giving it to others. Merit is illusory, beings are illusory.
- Just as all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the past engaged in virtue and
dedicated the merit to all beings, then, so too I following in their foot steps
dedicate all this merit to all beings so they can be enlightened.
Example: Imagine you say mantras.
First cultivate Bodhicitta.
In order that all beings be free of suffering and keep their happiness…
I will say the mantra.
The mantra is a dream, both the sayer and the recipient are emptiness
Then dedicate the merit.
Notes from Khentrul Lodro Thaye's Teaching on Calm Abiding Meditation 10/24/03
Calm Abiding meditation is the swift way. It is one point focus meditation that helps one accomplish one's practice.
First you must establish the basis...kind intention. You must cultivate this. Work with your intention which is your motivation. Anger, jealousy, and pride are obstacles; they are negative intentions. Move away from negative intentions. Develop a noble attitude. Your mind wishes all beings to be free from suffering and all beings to be happy. Usually we have kind intentions towards our family and those who help us. All others we have neutral or negative intentions towards. Embrace all beings equally. Each and every one of us and insects too, we are all exactly the same. We all have the same wish. We need to embrace them all with our mind. With our speech, we need to not use careless speech. With our bodies do no physical harm. Do this in our ordinary lives and in practice. All happiness in the world is the result of kindness.
Now, physically remove yourself to a quiet place. Your mind and body need quietude. In a whole day your mind keeps being distracted; your mind is irritated all day. The mind is distracted by the whole world and our lives. Allowing the mind to settle into peace is peaceful abiding.
The mind is like distrubed water. You need to let it settle so that the mud sinks to the bottom and the water is clear. And the mind is spoiled in that it doesn't want to do what we want it to. Thoughts in the mind are like a waterfall. As we practice it becomes a river, then it winds through a a flat plain, and then it becomes a placid lake. This is the skillfull means method.
Reference Point: It can be a diety, a syllabel, an object, but here we will use small sphere of light. It is actually a medium sphere of white light surrounded by rainbow light.. It will get smaller as you practice over time. The sphere of light is in the space in front of your nose. Focus your mind on that. This is not a visual but a mental image. There are two helpers, two qualities, for this meditation. Mindfulness helps you not forget the focal point. And vigilence helps the mind do what it is supposed to do...bringing the mind back to the focal point. It is like tying the horse to the post. You need a good rope and tie it not too hard nor too loose. A balance. Try too hard and you will become ill. Try too loosely and you will become drowsy. Barely remember the focal point. And do this for short periods of time, frequently, many times during the day.
Positioning: Use a small pillow to raise under the buttom and back. Try for a good meditation seat. Be comfortable and relaxed. Do not sit in the hot sun. 7 key points -
Gaze is open and downward into the empty space in front of your nose.
Legs are crossed or in lotus position.
Spine is straight.
Hands are on knees or folded in lap.
Chin is tucked in slightly.
Tongue touches up behind the teeth.
Shoulders are open.
This way the channels are open to the wind energy and this affects our thoughts. Straight posture moves our thoughts; mind is easier to use, more workable. Poor posture and our thoughts slow down. Best time to meditate is in the mornig for one hour and in the evening for one hour.
Feel emotions when meditating? For anger, meditate on loving kindness. To do diety meditation, place the deity in front and higher than you. Stare at a picture or tangka; place these throughout your house. Close your eyes and know all the details.
All dharma helps us all.
About the teacher:
Khentrul Lodro Thaye Rinpoche spent twenty years studying at Mardo Tashi Choling and Katok monasteries in Eastern Tibet, Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok's Serthar Buddhist Institute in Kardze, Tibet, and Penor Rinpoche's monastery Namdroling in India. Acknowledged as a scholar of the highest level (khenchen), he twice received the title of khenpo (equivalent to Doctor of Philosophy).
In addition to having completed the traditional three-year retreat, he has received the entire Nyingtik lineage (including Nyingtik Yabzhi, Dzod Dun, Ngalso Korsum, Yeshe Lama, and Chetzun Nyingtik) as well as many other empowerments, scriptural transmissions, and explanations on the pith instructions for Great Perfection practice (dzogchen). Khentrul Rinpoche has also received the rarely bestowed oral transmission of Khenpo Ngakchung's Nyingtik lineage. From Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche, Dodrubchen Rinpoche, Penor Rinpoche, and Katok Moktza Rinpoche, he has received all of the empowerments and scriptural transmissions for the Kama and Terma cycles of the Nyingma school.
He has taught for many years at monasteries in Tibet and India and is the abbot of Mardo Tashi Choling where he has established a retreat center and shedra (Buddhist college). He directs the education and spiritual practice of three hundred monks, of whom there are seventy advanced-degree candidates, sixty children, and twenty retreatants.