Kyabji Gosok Rinpoche’s 73rd Birthday message
Translated by Rinchen Dakpa
Tashi Delek To you all.
I am pleased to see you via this video platform. I am also pleased to know that you are keeping well. Due to this COVID-19 pandemic we are unable to come to Canada. We are all confined to our homes and we have to be cautious and take special precautions when we have to go out.
Even modern transportations such as travelling by plane is halted and our freedom to travel as we were accustomed is now very severely restricted. Before this pandemic we had total freedom to go anywhere we desire. In a sense, we were giving total free reign with our mind uncontrolled. Due to this uncontrolled mind, we also let our mind wonder into many negative actions due to our mental afflictions.
This uncontrolled mind is also due to our extensive materials progress in which we are being to be dependent on and also our negligence in developing proper ways to be happy internally. With this mental afflictions unchecked, we let ourselves get wild with many conceptual thoughts that lead us to further unsatisfactory life.
So with this pandemic that confines us into our homes only, we should realize the opportunity to use this time constructively to practice Buddha dharma properly. (Here Rinpoche talked about the Wheel Of Life but due to noise that developed by technical interference much was lost)
So, use this time to reflect internally and make an opportunity to develop spiritually. We have time to reflect on the infallible Law of Cause and Effect. We can learn our actions produce causes and fruits (effects) depending on the type of the action. Learn this karmic action has over powered us since from the beginningless time to now. Mainly our karmic action have been negative due to our mental afflictions.
We must realize that our lives are just like bubbles in the water that pop up momentarily and then disappear when you prick it with a sharp needle. Our lives, like bubbles in the water have come and gone from time without beginning. Also, just like light from a flickering lamp, we know that the light will go out when the fuel that gives the energy is burned up. We do not always think about when that fuel will be used up. Similarly, our lives are like that. We take our lives for granted. We should really come to the realization that our lives are impermanent just like the bubbles in the water. Then, when the time comes for us to die, there is nothing that can take with us in terms of the materials wealth that we have accumulated. Nor can our loved one can accompany us. We go alone. Even our own body that we were born with is left behind. Our gross mental consciousness fades away and we are left with our inner most subtle consciousness. So we die with this inner most subtle mind which also carries our actions of vertues or non-virtuous actions committed into the nest life.
If we had lead virtuous life benefiting others, the next life will be a positive one. If we lead a negative life of harming others and dishonesty, then the next life will also be a source of suffering.
So we must know that what will benefit us in the future is the Dharma and the proper practice of the Dharma. It is a gradual learning process and a sustainable process.
Even a small child in the beginning is taught by parents to recognize the words Papa and Mama and the concept of relating the words to the objects. The child learn what is harmful and learns to avoid harm. The child learn what is good and how to develop good deeds. Similarly, we must learn positive and negative karmic acts of body speech and mind and learn their respective effects.
So as with this pandemic, since our movements are having to stay home and be very cautious when we do go out. Because if we are not careful then we will be exposed to the virus and make us sick with threat to our life.
We should also understand that if we let our mind go externally with guarding it properly, then with our mental afflictions we will be drawn to attachments and aversions.
So how can we really guard ourselves from mental afflictions and practice the Dharma properly?
Just as how would protect our body from external illnesses we must also protect and guard our mind from going wild and untrained. Because without guarding our minds we let ourselves to be over powered by mental afflictions. This mental affliction is the illness of attachment and aversion. We have gotten used to this illness of mental afflictions from the beginningless time to now. We love and be compassionate to our children, parents and closed ones but we neglected this attitude to those distant from us. That is how we continue to suffer in cyclic existence with our untrained minds.
It is said that the root of good moral conduct is to guard our minds from doing anything negative actions of body, speech and mind. So, guarding our mind is of prime importance.
If we go out unprotected and we then contract an illness. This illness to our body is a threat to us in this life we are living. The same illness cannot accompany us like the karmic actions. However, due to not guarding our mind and letting it be drawn to mental afflictions, it becomes a cause for suffering not only in this life but in many lives to follow.
Therefore, we must see that faults of these mental afflictions that has governed our lives from many prior lives. Affliction is not something that is forced upon us by someone else. Any negative things that someone else has done to us will be consequence that that person will have to face and not you.
It is the negative afflictions of our own self-centered attitudes that causes us to continue to suffer endlessly. Due to this self-centered attitude we guard “I” and “mine” and to protect what is mine we then perform many negative actions of body, speech and mind. Afflictions harm both self and others. So, we must thoroughly understand the faults of these mental afflictions. You can even observe its effects on other persons who are over powered and possessed by afflictions. A person who is under the force of mental affliction is not liked by others. People will make efforts to avoid that person. Even a person with full fletched professional credentials does not last long in employment if that person is under the influence of mental affliction.
We need a cause to benefit this and many future lives. What is that cause? It is the Dharma. Dharma provides us the full knowledge of cause and effects. We must have a real and full understanding of the Law of cause and effect. We must build on this understanding and make it sustainable. This knowledge is the guide of proper practice of the Dharma. Just like parents educating their child first with simple words and numbers and then expanding on that knowledge. So, in order to be free of suffering we must learn the faults of the three poisons of the mind. We have suffered a great deal under their influence. Therefore we must make a full serious determination to be free of these three poisons.
Just as it is not possible to ask a university professor to train your five year old child with the full university level knowledge in five days, it is also not possible to know the Dharma in a short time. Knowledge must be build a little by little and make it sustainable.
This life that we have now with the leisure and endowments is the only opportunity to make a beneficial difference in this and future lives. What opportunity? The opportunity to guard our minds and avoid mental afflictions.
And what is the main practice? It is to generate compassion. Compassion is the knowledge to treat all sentient beings in equanimity and to be free from attachment to those who are close to you and aversion to those who you dislike. The building block to proper compassion is to treat all our family members with love and compassion, then extent that attitude to the neighbors, to the community and then across the nation without discriminating on the basis of race, beliefs or nationality.
I therefore request you to practice the Dharma in this way by building your knowledge of the Dharma a little by little. This is to plant the seed of Buddhahood.
The essence of Dharma practice is love and compassion. Then develop this love and compassion to all the sentient beings in the six realms of existence. If you do this Buddhahood is now in the palm of your hand. This will naturally lead to better and better lives and ultimately to attain full enlightenment. The final goal.
Our Lord Je Tsongkhapa said the full attainment of Buddhahood is Great Compassion. Great Compassion is not just the mere compassion you give to your child, parent and close ones but all beings without exception with equal love and compassion. When you have developed this Great Compassion or the mind of enlightenment then you have become a Bodhisattva. This is initially cultivated with the seed of Great Compassion to produce the sprout of enlightenment and then to reach the fruit of Buddhahood, a state free of all defilements, negativities and afflictions and the attainment of total purity Buddhahood.
This love and compassion also means to cherish other sentient beings and abandon self-cherishing. If you genuinely cherish others, you will accomplish your own goal even better otherwise. If a person is possessed with love and compassion to others and works honestly everybody want to hire that person. But if that person is dishonest that person will not last long in the employment.
You must practice that Dharma properly. The way to practice properly is to have full faith in the Buddha’s teaching and understand the teaching as well as understanding the qualities of the teaching. With the understanding of the qualities of the Buddha’s teaching you develop proper and full believe. Then with this firm believe you go on to accumulate vast merits with your heart felt prayers, offering of incense and so forth you take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and supreme community of sangas.
This is my wish and hope of you.
It is also very important to pay homage to Arya Tara and recite the twenty one Tara prayers. Arya Tara being the deity of activities will guide you and help you from harm and other negative forces and illnesses. By accumulating merits and devotional prayers to Tara you will be born in Buddha Amitabah’s realm of Western Paradise.
This is my hope of you and I wish you all tashi Delek and hope to see you soon.