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six-session_guru_yoga_commentary_geshe_tashi_tsering_of_chenrezig_institute_7 [2018/02/26 18:13] (current)
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 +** [[Ayurveda Healing Arts Institute]] of [[Medicine Buddha Healing Center]] **
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 +Part of the List of [[Dharma Terms]] and [[Fair Use]] [[Hyperlinked Shastra commentary]] ([[Non-Profit Educational Purposes for Distance Learning]]) from the [[Buddhist Ayurveda]] Course ([[SUT560]] [[Introduction to Tantra]] and [[SKT220]]) on [[Sanskrit Terms]] of [[Ayurveda]],​ [[Tibetan Medicine]], [[Dharma]] and [[CLN301|Consultations]]
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 +[[Recent Changes]] | [[Ayurveda Terms]] ([[Ayurvedic Chinese Western Medicine Terms from Marma Points of Ayurveda]] | [[Dharma Terms]] | [[Dharma Teachers]], See also [[Six Session Guru Yoga]], [[Extremely Abbreviated Six Session Guru Yoga]], [[Samaya]], [[Tantric Vows]], [[Puja]], [[Sadhana]]
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 +----
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 +======= Six-Session Guru Yoga Commentary by Geshe Tashi Tsering of Chenrezig Institute ======
 +
 +
 +For a formatted downloadable version, please see: 
 +
 +http://​www.ayurveda-california.com/​distance_learning/​index.php/​buddhist-masters-program/​six-session-guru-yoga/​6-session-guru-yoga-commentary-tashi-tsering-7
 +
 +----
 +
 +SIX-SESSION GURU YOGA
 +Geshe Tashi Tsering
 +Interpreted by: Ven Losang Zopa
 +Chenrezig Institute
 +Transcribed by Annis Dickson
 +(This text has not been checked by Ven. Losang Zopa so any mistakes are entirely the fault of the transcriber)
 +
 +
 +Tape 7 – 25.2.03
 +
 +Side A
 +
 +Last week Geshe-la began teaching on the bodhisattva vows in connection with the six-session guru yoga practice. ​ In the six-session guru yoga practice they include an enumeration of the vows of a monastic particularly the fully ordained, the vows of a bodhisattva and the mantra vows. These three are included so as to ensure the completeness in the sense that one of the ways to guard ones vows is through knowing what is non-harmonious with the vows.
 +
 +As mentioned last week the text begins with the verse of homage and then an outline. ​ The outline is four fold.  First you have the method by which the bodhisattva vows are obtained by someone who is not obtained them.  Secondly you have the way to guard the vows to prevent them from degeneration. ​ Thirdly you have the way to repair the vows should they degenerate and fourthly you have the benefits and virtues of guarding those vows.  It would be good if we could memorize them.
 +
 +As Geshe-la mentioned then, the first section begins with a short explanation which doesn’t appear in the English translation. ​ Just to give you a rough translation it reads that we should fervently request a lama who is capable of looking after his students, who is knowledgeable in the Bodhisattva Canon and who abides in the bodhisattva vows to bestow these vows so that we may take them for the benefit of all sentient beings. In doing so we are requesting to take the bodhisattva vows which are a treasury of all merit. Further more before doing so we should make offerings to the best of our ability and prostrate and pay homage with respect to all buddhas and their children.
 +
 +(Ven.Lozang Zopa – I translated that badly – I started from the end, found myself in trouble and kept going, so that I had the first phrase left which Geshe-la was of course expecting to hear first and instead hears it at the end (laughter))
 +
 +This word tse or children refers to bodhisattvas. ​ From time to time it will be phrased as buddhas and bodhisattvas at other times it will be phrased as buddhas and their children. ​ ‘Their children’ in this case is merely a synonym for bodhisattva.
 +
 +The second section deals with the way to guard the vows so that they do not degenerate. ​ You should learn the basis of the bodhisattva training by properly relying upon a sublime spiritual guide learned in the Bodhisattva Canon and its commentaries. ​ In particular, you must know the eighteen root downfalls and the forty-six secondary afflictions.
 +
 +Which bring us to the first eighteen root downfalls, the first six of which we covered last week.  Please turn to the second page (of the text - Advice on the Three Vows by Geshe Tsewang Samdrub) on which you can find the seventh.
 +
 +It reads – If, due to ill will, you steal the saffron robes, beat, imprison or cause an ordained person – with or without ethical discipline – to fall from ordination, it is a root downfall of stealing the saffron robes of the ordained and causing them to fall from ordination and so forth.  ​
 +
 +It says – If, due to ill will…..cause an ordained person with or without ethical discipline. ​ As Geshe-la mentioned it’s good to think about the way these vows are phrased in the translation of the six-session guru yoga that we recite on a regular basis. ​ He was trying to call to mind the exact wording himself because you are going through it very slowly it doesn’t come easily to his mind when he recites it very quickly then it flows much more easily – so he’s laughing how that is.
 +
 +Notice that the ordained person who is the object of these particular actions can be either someone who is with or without ethical discipline. ​ If due to ill will you were to steal the saffron robes – that is the clothing – of such a person (an ordained person with or without ethical discipline) or to beat them or to imprison them or to cause to them to fall from ordination, it would be a root downfall of stealing the saffron robes.
 +
 +In Tibetan we have these two words chopa and …..  The word ….. is closely associated with the ….  In English we make a similar distinction between robbing and stealing. ​ So to rob ….. is associated with a bandit a …..  A bandit who robs, takes something by force whereas someone who steals ……. takes something by stealth in a way that their thievery is unseen or hidden. ​ Here it refers rather less to stealing as it is to robbing. ​ The literal translation of this root downfall as it is found in the six-session guru yoga would be robbing the saffron robes as opposed to disrobing monks and nuns.
 +
 +This is divided into two root downfalls – that of robbing the saffron robes and so forth and that of causing the ordained to fall from ordination.
 +
 +Moving on to number eight it reads – If you commit any of the following five acts, kill your mother, father or an arhat, cause a division in the Sangha, or draw the blood of the Tathagata with negative intent, it is a root downfall of committing an act of immediate retribution or alternatively committing one of the five heinous crimes.
 +
 +Mother and father refer to the mother and father of this lifetime – those beings with whom you have a flesh and blood connection.
 +
 +As for killing an arhant - it might be that the arhant is displaying the aspect of a human or they might be human. ​ In fact in reality if the person is an arhant and you were to kill them you would incur this root downfall. ​ It is not necessary that you realise that the person is an arhant. ​ Not realising the person is an arhant and taking their life when in fact they are an arhant will still result in you incurring one of these heinous crimes – acts of immediate retribution.
 +
 +There is a story about the King ?Mashin dra?, he was actually a prince and initially he planned to take his father’s life.  So towards that end to execute his orders he sent his military to where his father was.  Before his father passed away the prince thought maybe exile would be sufficient but his original intention was to take the life of his father – have his father killed. ​ His father actually died as he saw the army men approaching him very quickly but he had time to write a letter – a note saying that you have killed your father but you have also killed an arhant. ​ It seems that his father had attained the resultant state of an arhant even though the son did not know that he still ended up killing an arhant.
 +
 +I believe that the name of this king was Ajatrashatru who was the prince of Mogoda, if I’m not mistaken. ​ He felt a very strong regret over his actions and went into the presence of the Buddha to explain what had happened. ​ The Buddha seeing that he was so distraught told him a mother and father are something to be killed!  ​
 +
 +Ajatrashatru took the life of his father due to the fact that he had fallen under the sway of karma and the disturbing emotions.  ​
 +
 +When Ajatrashatru came into the presence of the Buddha, the Buddha saw his state of mind and knew that if he didn’t calm Ajatrashatru’s mind then there was a danger that he would become mentally disturbed and if that happened the Buddha would not have the opportunity to give him further instructions. ​ Ajatrashatru would then not have the opportunity to develop regret and confess and purify his actions. ​ So to prevent all of this the Buddha told him that it’s all right – the mother and father are to be killed which then allowed Ajatrashatru to come to terms with his actions without becoming crazy.
 +
 +The Buddha’s intention was to communicate to Ajatrashatru the fact that karma and disturbing emotions need to be killed. ​ To communicate his intentions however he phrased it as the mother and father have to be killed. ​ The Buddha was trying to express the fact that the subject matter of the sutra is that karma and disturbing emotions must be killed. ​ The words that are used to convey the subject matter are – the mother and father are to be killed. ​ This sutra known as the sutra of King Ajatrashatru,​ is known as a sutra of interpretive meaning or provisional meaning. ​ It’s provisional or it needs to be interpreted in the sense that it is unsuitable to be taken it literally.
 +
 +A sutra of provisional meaning needs to have a basis of intention. ​ That is to say that the words of a sutra of provisional meaning cannot be taken literally and therefore you have to have something that can be demonstrated as the intention behind those words. ​ In this case the intention behind the words that were used were – the need to kill the disturbing emotions and karma.
 +There is also purpose in the Buddha speaking in this way.  By giving these instructions to Ajatrashatru,​ he was able to confess his action, purify his action and go on to attain the resultant state of an arhant. ​ The purpose served in expressing things in this way was that Ajatrashatru became an arhant and Buddha expressing things in this way allowed for that to occur.
 +
 +We have the basis for the intention, we have the purpose of expressing things in that way and finally we have the harm that can come from expressing things in that way.  In this case what harm do you think could come from the Buddha expressing things in this way?  The person thinks that they ought to kill their mother and father! ​ A person takes the statement literally. ​ But clearly this is not something that should be taken literally, because it is not a statement that remains unharmed by the three investigations.  ​
 +
 +In other words it is not something that remains unharmed by valid cognition. ​ We can subject scriptural quotations to three forms of analysis – correct? ​ These three forms of analysis make use of different types of valid cognisers. ​ In this case it’s the most obvious valid cogniser that knows that it’s not appropriate to kill your mother or father.  ​
 +
 +After all we are encouraged to give up causing harm to others and so it’s not appropriate to take the life of a sentient being. ​  To take the life of a sentient being is a fault so how could it be all right to take the life of your father and mother? ​ To do so would be an act of immediate retribution or a heinous crime. ​ It’s very obvious – the manifest analysis of the statement will tell you this is not to be taken literally. ​ Thus the harm that could be done by expressing things in this way is that a person takes it literally and believes that they should kill their mother and father.
 +
 +All sutras of provisional meaning will have these three features. ​ They will have a basis of the intention, a purpose for expressing things in that way and they will have the harm that can be done to the actual meaning. ​ The sutra that fulfils these three qualities is going to be considered a sutra of provisional meaning.
 +
 +Years ago when Geshe-la first arrived somehow he found himself talking about Milarepa’s spiritual biography. ​ Those of you who have read it will be familiar with the story of how one day when it was hailing Milarepa took shelter from the hail in a yak horn or maybe a sheeps horn.  They say that Milarepa’s body didn’t get any smaller and the horn didn’t get any bigger. ​ When Geshe-la actually said this to elicit some laughter – Tenzin Wangmo who was a nun at that point asked Geshe-la – is this something of provisional meaning or is this something of definitive meaning and Geshe-la said it’s something of definitive meaning. ​ At this point a German meditation teacher who was staying at the sangha house had a lot of trouble saying that he couldn’t accept that. (laughter).
 +
 +The thing is that Milarepa had attained the illusory body and someone with the illusory body can enter into a hole without the hole needing to become any bigger. ​ Why is that the case?  Well the illusory body is a body made of wind therefore it’s not obstructed by these types of things and hence allowing Milarepa who had such a body to enter into the horn without changing size.
 +
 +Geshe-la’s response that this is something of definitive meaning was based on a mantra perspective because it’s only in the context of mantra that you find a discussion of illusory body.  There’s no such thing talked about in sutra, is there? ​ It’s from a mantra perspective that Geshe-la then said – definitive meaning. ​ Here in the example we are speaking about with King Ajatrashatru,​ we are speaking about a sutra of definitive meaning that has these three features – a basis of intention, a purpose and a harm which is done to the action.
 +
 +Causing a division or schism in the sangha can be explained in relation to sangha who are ordinary beings. ​ In this case you have to have four Sangha on the one side and four sangha or the other side and have to cause a schism between the two.  So you need to have eight sangha or you can’t cause such a schism.
 +
 +If you were to cause a schism between three sangha on the one side and four sangha on the other this would be an act that is included in the category of an act of immediate retribution but not an act of immediate retribution itself. ​ It’s akin to divisive speech, one of the ten non-virtues. ​ Divisive speech is held to be a very serious negativity because in using divisive speech you are creating a schism between, for instance, two people who were harmonious. You are disrupting the harmony - causing disharmony between two individuals. ​ If that is a serious negativity, it stands to reason that causing disharmony in what was a harmonious group is even more serious, is even more negative. ​ But taking that here if you have a group of harmonious sangha and you were to cause disharmony amongst them that would be again a greater more serious negativity. ​ If you have raised the numbers so to speak and there are indeed four sangha on one side and four sangha on the other then you create the schism – you incur one of these five acts of immediate retribution - a heinous crime of causing a schism in the sangha.
 +
 +In the vinaya, sangha needs to be constituted as four fully ordained people, particularly fully ordained monks. ​ But Geshe-la says that if you were to debate this point out you might argue that it’s not strictly necessary to have four fully ordained monks but you might have for instance four getsuls – four novices and that would constitute the gathering. ​ In fact whether you are dealing with fully ordained monks or dealing with novices you are still causing a schism between the ordained here.  In argument you might also say that this also extends to novices but when you stick to what’s actually expressed in the vinaya – it mentions only four fully ordained monks.
 +
 +Taking the vinaya approach we are not in any great danger considering that we don’t have many fully ordained monks around, do we?
 +
 +An issue was raised about doing sojong with getsuls. ​ When that issue was raised Geshe-la wasn’t sure if in the translation from Tibetan into English initially got through. ​ The point is that there was a request that maybe we could do the restoration and purification ceremony for monastics even though we only have novices. ​ The restoration and purification is sojong – so ‘could we do a novice sojong?’ was the question. ​ In the past at Sera monastery Geshe-la caught wind of a Tibetan monastery doing such a thing. ​ At that time a lot of people at Sera were asking what is the origin or source of such a thing? ​ Did they just make it up or do they have a source which they are drawing upon and reinstituting this tradition of doing novice sojong. ​ Geshe-la does not remember any conclusion being reached at that point. ​ Nobody could put forth a source for that thing. ​ Certainly such a thing is not mentioned clearly in the vinaya.  ​
 +
 +On that basis when Chonyi passed the message on to Geshe-la, he said that unless we have a clear source for such a thing he would prefer not to do it.  Because the chances are that if we were to do it at Chenrezig, word would get around that Geshe Tashi Tsering is doing this thing and then people would base their own activities on that and you can see what would flow from that.  In the absence of a clear source Geshe-la prefers not to do such a thing.
 +
 +Without a source – it becomes New Age.  The danger is that we start making things up like this without a proper source then we start doing New Age stuff – New Age sojong. (Geshe-la laughs)
 +
 +Geshe-la (in English) – Therefore still I checking.  ​
 +
 +Perhaps Geshe Llundrup could point out the proper source or origin of such a thing.
 +
 +At least at Sera Geshe-la hasn’t seen any sources or origins. ​ The monastery in Tibet is quite a large monastery but there weren’t so many fully ordained monks and so Geshe-la speculates that perhaps in the absence of a great number of fully ordained monks they did the sojong with novices. ​ However when word of this got back to Sera the geshes there didn’t seemed to be too pleased with this idea.  They didn’t really agree with it, they thought it was a little bit strange to be doing this kind of thing.
 +
 +As Kamalashila says in the Middle Stages of Meditation that we confess and purify with the four opponent powers……
 +
 +Side B
 +
 +….. complete and we can purify even if those negativities that are considered to be irreparable by the lower vehicle. ​ Particularly Kamalashila mentions that it’s important to develop a firm determination not to engage in the negative action again in the future and develop a fierce regret for having performed that negative act at all.  ​
 +
 +In doing so we can purify even those impurefiable negativities (from one persons perspective). ​ That’s how strong this purification with the four opponent powers can be.  That refers to negativities though. ​ By participating in the restoration and purification of sojong the added effect is that you can purify a downfall. ​ The way to purify negativities differs from the way to purify downfalls. ​ A novice can perform a particular act and in doing so incur a defeat or a fault that is similar to a defeat. ​ When a novice incurs a fault that is similar to a defeat then he or she incurs both a downfall and a negativity. ​ They can purify that negativity by developing a firm determination not to engage in that act again and developing fierce regret about having performed that act.  Thereby causing the four opponent powers to be complete they purify the negativity.
 +
 +Purifying the negativity means that you render the seed left behind - ineffective – that is – unable to produce a result.  ​
 +
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six-session_guru_yoga_commentary_geshe_tashi_tsering_of_chenrezig_institute_7.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:13 (external edit)