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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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 +======= 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-9
 +
 +----
 +
 +Six Session Guru Yoga.
 + 
 + 
 +Teacher:​ Geshe Tashi Tsering
 +Translator:​ Ven. Lozang Zopa
 +Transcribed:​ Carolyn McLeod
 +Chenrezig Institute, 11th March, 2003.
 + 
 +Tape 9.
 + 
 +Geshe-la’s commentary is following the lines that you see in Six Session Guru Yoga; the commentary is as the practice goes. In doing so, we hear the teachings and we can follow along mentally when we recite this practice on a day to day basis, so it’s important that we retain the explanations that are given.
 + 
 +In taking the vow of a bodhisattva,​ there are eighteen root downfalls and forty-six secondary offences that we are expected to guard against. Those beings, who attain high paths and guard against incurring these eighteen root downfalls and forty-six secondary offences, make progress towards the state of manifest Buddhahood. We also should try and guard against the root downfalls and forty-six secondary offences even if we are not able to guard them as they are explained. We are all familiar with the story of Dorje Atisha and what he said about the difficulty of guarding these respective vows. We try, as best as we can, to guard against the eighteen root downfalls and forty-six secondary offences. For those that we are unable to guard against, we set a goal for ourselves thinking of the time that I am going to be unable to guard against incurring this; and in doing so, we should also confess and purify the transgression on a regular basis. This is what is meant by abiding by vows and samayas as taught in mantra.
 + 
 +We’re not just people who have an interest in Buddhism – we are people who have a conviction in Buddhism, as evidence by the fact that we take the vows of mantra, the vows of a bodhisattva and even in some cases, at the very least, the vows of approaching virtue – otherwise known as the lay person’s vows. By properly guarding these we can develop the perfection of ethics. As we saw last week, this term perfection is in some ways an unsatisfactory translation of the Tibetan term {?}, which means to go across. By properly guarding ethics, one can develop the ethic that has gone across, that is to say, we can attain Buddhahood by developing our guarding of ethics. ​
 + 
 +It’s important to gain understanding of this situation. It’s like Geshe-la has been explaining in the BSP, but not just in the BSP – that when we gain an understanding of a certain state of affairs, wisdom in regards to that arises. This wisdom, in turn, induces faith. For instance, when one understands the qualities of Buddhas and bodhisattvas one develops wisdom in the qualities of Buddhas and bodhisattvas,​ leading to the arising of faith in those qualities. The combination of wisdom and faith in turn leads to the aspiration to attain those for ourselves. This aspiration to attain the qualities of Buddhas and bodhisattvas imbues us with a sense of joyous effort, which helps us to make progress towards that end. Similarly with these, in general, it’s important to develop an understanding which leads to wisdom, which in turn induces faith, aspiration and joyous effort. ​
 + 
 +In general Geshe-la hasn’t ever really talked much about faith. Coming to the west he figures that it’s a westerner’s choice whether he or she wants to get involved with Buddhism and so maybe its best to leave out discussions on faith. Furthermore,​ many westerners are aware of the fact that there are a lot of Tibetans who have blind faith, and if Geshe-la were to go on and on about the importance of faith, then there is the possibility that westerners would feel that he’s trying to yoke us with the blind faith of Tibetans. So, rather than have people think this, he’s simply adopted a policy of not speaking a great deal about faith. ​
 + 
 +These days, more and more, you see westerners who can talk more and more about the dharma but that dharma doesn’t have any beneficial effect on their mind. You see this kind of thing happening, don’t you – somebody who has got a lot to say about the dharma but who has not applied it - so it’s not beneficial. This is a very sad state of affairs. For that reason, Geshe-la feels that it’s perhaps important to pay mind to these types of things. ​
 + 
 +There’s a Tibetan saying which is roughly translated as acting as if one is a dharma practitioner when your belly is full but completely forgetting about the dharma in the face of problems. Although its not a very eloquent translation,​ if I may say so, it conveys the basic point which is that you can put on the appearance of being a dharma practitioner when everything is going well and your belly’s full and in a nice relaxed situation, but it’s another thing entirely to actually apply the dharma in the face of problems and difficulties. Geshe-la thinks that it is indeed important for us to not just be able to talk about the dharma but to have the dharma have some beneficial impact upon our own mind. This happens through gaining an understanding of these things – this understanding leads to wisdom, leads to aspiration and so on and so forth. In short – faith is indeed very important.
 + 
 +First of the eighteen root downfalls of the Bodhisattva Vows is to praise oneself and belittle others. ​ The explanation we received is that a person might, due to attachment to material gain and honour, praise themselves and belittle others. This is where the eighteen root downfalls begin – isn’t it?
 + 
 +Does it seem to you that maybe the finger is being pointed directly at us with this root downfall? Does it seem to you that perhaps, from time to time, we act as if we are really something special and doubt and denigrate the status of others? In recognising even the very first of these eighteen rood downfalls, it’s important that we be able to point the finger right to our own heart. ​
 + 
 +The fourteenth root downfall, which is where we left off reads: - if you denigrate the Hearers’ and/or Solitary Realisers’ vehicles saying, ‘Regardless of how much you train in it, you will not be able to abandon all disturbing emotions without exception,​’ and hold that the realisations of Hearers and Solitary Realisers do not free them from cyclic existence, it is a root downfall of Holding that attachment and the like cannot be abandoned by the Learner’s Vehicle. Six Session Guru Yoga calls this Belittling those who follow Hinayana. ​
 + 
 +A person can indeed abandon all the disturbing emotions without exception by training in the Hinayana vehicle [?????] of the hearer and solitary realiser. We understand that – correct? ​ We know that if a hearer and solitary realiser familiarised him or herself with their respective paths that they are able to free themselves from all disturbing emotions. Are they able to do so? 
 + 
 +Student. They are able to free themselves from all disturbing emotions because they meditate on the root of cyclic existence.
 + 
 +Let’s not just read it and leave it at that! Let’s question it – look into why it’s possible to be liberated from cyclic existence by training in the paths of the hearers and solitary realisers. This root downfall is referring to a person who does not enter into the Mahayana path. Without entering into the Mahayana path a person can train in the hearer and solitary realiser vehicles and abandon all the disturbing emotions – free themselves from cyclic existence. ​
 + 
 +Since the disturbing emotions together with their seeds can be eliminated all together it’s possible to attain liberation. If it were not possible to eliminate the disturbing emotions together with their seeds all together, it would not be possible to attain liberation. The proof for determining whether or not liberation can be attained depends on establishing whether or not the disturbing emotions can be completely eliminated. ​
 + 
 +We must consider what the very well spring or source of the disturbing emotions are and if you can completely eliminate the very root of the disturbing emotions together with its seeds then you can abandon them and attain liberation. What is that root? It is the innate or instinctual misapprehension of self of persons.
 + 
 +Attachment, anger, pride and envy are all produced in dependence upon the misapprehension of the self of persons. How is this thing produced in dependence upon the misapprehension of the self? Even if we can’t infer that the disturbing emotions arise upon the misapprehension of the self of person, one thing is clear and that is that anger, attachment, pride and jealousy all rely upon some sense of the I. All these things arise in dependence upon some type of grasping at the notion of self, don’t they? After all, with the thought that I am being harmed, one develops anger; with the thought that I am being helped, one develops attachment; with oneself as the [? Sounded like locusts???] then one feels envy or jealousy – Geshe-la was laughing because he forgot the Tibetan word for that. If we think about it in this way, we can at least infer that some type of grasping at self is necessary for the arising of the disturbing emotions. ​
 + 
 +Once again – it’s clear that the disturbing emotions arise in dependence upon some type of grasping at the I; what we need to do, is to determine whether this mode of grasping is the mode in which the misapprehension of self grasps. Is this mode of grasping, the misapprehension of self mode of grasping?
 + 
 +It is said that there is indeed a way in which we grasp at the I. How is that? Well, we grasp at the I holding it to exist as it appears. If in apprehending the I, we apprehend it holding it to exist as it appears, that is the way in which the innate misapprehension of the self grasps at the I. 
 + 
 +Just as ordinary beings have a sense of I then Buddhas also have a sense of I – Buddhas have a I. Even those beings who have perceptionally realised emptiness have a sense of I, yet this sense of I is of an illusory like I. In the context of mantra there are many analogies given to describe the illusory like I – and so on and so forth. Essentially,​ it is the mere I. When the I appears to such beings, the I appears as something that is only imputed. Yet, when the I appears to us ordinary beings, it doesn’t appear in this way at all. Not appearing in that way, still we operate under the assumption that it exists as it appears – misapprehending the I holding it to exist as it appears, we have fulfilled the criteria for having this innate misapprehension of self.
 + 
 +Just the sense of I that one might have in and of itself is not called the misapprehension of the self – or even self-grasping.
 + 
 +It seems that this innate or instinctual misapprehension of the self grasps to the I holding it to exist as it appears even though the way it appears doesn’t reflect its reality. If we were to eliminate the innate or instinctual misapprehension of the self, it would not be possible for anger, pride, envy and jealousy to arise because the innate misapprehension of self is the root, the cause; and without the cause it’s impossible for the effect to be established. This is the basic process of cause and effect – this is the way it works. ​
 + 
 +In short, then we must consider how it is that the disturbing emotions together with their seeds can be abandoned, and how it is that an individual would have the capacity to become free from cyclic existence. If we were to apply this question to the material that we have been studying and we would look at the progression of a Hearer through the Hearer paths. The Hearer path of the Path of Accumulation,​ the individual realises selflessness of persons. On the Hearer Path of Preparation,​ they attain the calm abiding insight focused upon the selflessness of persons; in attaining the Hearer Path of Seeing they are attaining a perceptual realisation of the selflessness of persons, which acts as the direct antidote to this particular level of the acquired misapprehension of the self of persons. ​ Applying the direct antidote to that, they pass onto the Path of Meditation where they abandon the remaining misapprehension of self of persons together with its seeds and attain liberation. This is the way in which a Hearer progresses through their respective paths. ​
 + 
 +The fourteenth root downfall reads: - Holding that attachment and the like cannot be abandoned by the Learner’s Vehicle, alternatively it is, Belittling those who follow the Hinayana for quite clearly you are putting them in an inferior place, thereby belittling them.
 + 
 +The note reads: - If, while reciting, reading, and teaching the Mahayana texts, you claim out of attachment to material gain and honour that, “I am a practitioner of the Mahayana unconcerned with gain and honour, but others are not,” you are praising yourself and belittling others, and thus it is a root downfall of Belittling others with deceptive words. This is not counted as a separate downfall since it is included within the first root downfall of Praising oneself and belittling others.
 + 
 + 
 +The first deception is that although you are indeed reciting and reading Mahayana texts and so forth, due to your attachment to material gain and honour you claim that you are not.
 + 
 +Then you might turn and say about someone you dislike that that person is reading and reciting Mahayana texts out of attachment to material gain and honour, thereby belittling them. You might not necessarily state that explicitly but there are ways of giving a person such an impression. Are you clear about the way in which a person can belittle another as described in the first of the root downfalls, Praising oneself and belittling others?
 + 
 +Stating that you know something that you do indeed know does not constitute praising oneself – at least praising oneself that is the basis for a root downfall, does it!
 + 
 +If however, you were to make out as if you knew something that you did not due to your attachment to material gain and honour that would indeed be a case of praising oneself that actually is the basis for incurring this root downfall. We have the motivation and we also have the aspect of deceit and dissemination;​ acting as if you have something that you don’t, for instance, knowledge. The primary meaning is that motivation is important. This does not need to be counted as the fifteenth root downfall for it is counted within the first.
 + 
 +The fifteenth root downfall according to Six Session Guru Yoga is proclaiming false realisations of voidness; the text reads: - Even though you are not perceptually realised emptiness, you teach emptiness to others saying, “Meditate on this and you will perceptually realise emptiness and become like me!” and they understand that, it is a root downfall of Making false proclamations.
 + 
 +Is it clear? Here you have a person who claims to perceptually realise emptiness telling that person to meditate and you will become like me, even though they have not perceptually realised emptiness. The conclusion of this act would be for the person to understand the meaning of what has been said; in that case the root downfall is incurred. If you were to say it to yourself there is no basis for the incurring of the root downfall – nobody is listening to you. Geshe-la pointed out that if the person who has indeed perceptionally realised emptiness were to say, ‘meditate on emptiness etc’ that would not be a root downfall. ​
 + 
 +If a person has indeed perceptionally realised emptiness, yet, due to their attachment to material gain and honour were to tell others about it, it would be a fault but perhaps not a root downfall. If however, a person has not perceptionally realised emptiness and they claim to have done so to others then it does function as a root downfall. As for this issue of motivation, Geshe-la points out that it’s quite clear that the motivation is not a good motivation because the person is trying to make a claim that they have realised emptiness when in fact they have not. You can be quite sure that the motivation is a negative one. There is a distinction between having realised emptiness and made the claim and not having realised emptiness and not made the claim. Having realised emptiness and made the claim out of attachment it’s a fault because it’s out of attachment to material gain and honour. In the first case, in which one has not realised emptiness, there’s a limit of deception involved and makes it a root downfall. Is that clear?
 + 
 + The way to properly debate about this question is to say, take a person who is confused thinking that they have indeed realised emptiness when they have not. Although they have not perceptually realised emptiness they mistakenly think that they have and without any feeling of attachment to material gain and honour go on to speak about that with others. In that case the person’s statement is not a lie. Is it a lie?
 +It is necessarily not a lie if you think you have attained it?
 + 
 +Student. It’s because you are not intending to deceive someone in saying so.
 + 
 +Geshe-la has spoken a little bit about this in the past. At that point, he pointed out that in order for something to be a lie it necessarily involves a deceptive intention – more literally, a deceptive attitude; for instance, ‘although I have not perceptually realised emptiness, I should tell them that I have’. ​
 + 
 +A person who has fooled themselves thinking they had perceptually realised emptiness although they have not does not utter a lie but is acting in an arrogant fashion. More literally, they have this manifest pride, a sense of arrogance or haughtiness. ​
 + 
 +The phrasing from Six Session Guru Yoga mentions, proclaiming false realisations of voidness. In Tibetan false is the same word as for false speech, a lie; so it’s quite clear that this fifteenth root downfall is included within the category of false speech or lying.
 + 
 +The sixteenth root downfall reads: - If you accept the property of the Three Jewels, or the provisions and necessities of the Sangha and the fully ordained, which have been confiscated by kings, ministers and so forth as punishment, when you obtain these goods, it is a root downfall of accepting property taken from the Three Jewels.
 + 
 +When you obtain these goods it is a root downfall of accepting property taken from the Three Jewels. The conclusion of the act occurs with the obtainment of the goods. When offered to you, the moment you obtain them you incur this root downfall. Similarly with false speech, when the other person understands the meaning of what has been said, that marks the conclusion of the act and the incurring of the fault of false speech. ​ [End side a]
 + 
 +The seventeenth reads: - If you take the resources of contemplatives who are settled in calm abiding with the thought, “I will rouse these ordinary beings from their practice,​” and give it to those who merely recite prayers, it is a root downfall of Giving the contemplatives’ resources to the reciters and discarding calm abiding.
 + 
 +The eighteenth reads: - If you abandon bodhicitta, it is a root downfall of Discarding bodhicitta.
 + 
 +What does it mean to discard bodhicitta? It means to think, ‘oh, I can’t practice bodhicitta, bodhicitta is very hard and I can’t practice or develop it.’
 + 
 +The Six Session Guru Yoga calls the seventeenth root downfall Passing false judgement alternatively establishing harmful rules. ​ It calls the eighteenth root downfall Giving up bodhicitta. ​
 + 
 +Geshe-la was saying that in the Tibetan we have this phrase [……….];​ now I believe the word [?] means something like to set, like setting a boundary, drawing a line. 
 + 
 +In short it’s referring to forsaking particular individuals. In practicing bodhicitta, it’s important that we do not forsake any single individual. We are working for the benefit of all beings – so to forsake a sentient being is to think, ‘I am not going to bother about alleviating that person’s suffering and establishing that person in happiness’,​ or even thinking, ‘I cannot or will not’, constitutes forsaking an individual. The connotations of the Tibetan as not simply giving up bodhicitta, but giving rise to a mind that forsakes another. The notion of forsaking is linked to another term which is used in connection with ethics. You can practice, for the lack of a better word, perverted ethics, which are corrupt ethics. Corrupt bodhicitta is one in which you forsake individuals. Bodhicitta, properly speaking, should be inclusive of all sentient beings.
 + 
 +The paragraph after the eighteenth root downfall reads: - To incur this [the eighteenth root downfall] and the ninth root downfall of Holding wrong views, it is not necessary for the four binding afflictions to be complete. However, for the other sixteen root downfalls, the four must be complete in order to render them great binding afflictions. ​ The four binding afflictions are: - 1. Still wanting to engage in the misdeed. 2. Lacking a sense of shame and consideration [shame and propriety] 3. Feeling happy and pleased [satisfied] about the action. 4. Not feeling the act is wrong.
 + 
 +Of the fours binding afflictions,​ which is the worse? Not regarding the misdeed as a wrong; not feeling that the act you have performed is wrong is the worst of the four binding afflictions. If in addition to not feeling the act is wrong, the other three binding afflictions are also complete, then your act constitutes a great binding affliction. ​
 + 
 +If in addition to not feeling that the act is wrong, one or two of the remaining three are complete, or, if it alone is complete, it is a fault of medium contamination.
 + 
 +When not combined with the last one, then the first three are faults of lesser contamination. Is that clear? What’s the most important for us – it’s the fourth type of binding affliction. The most important is that we recognise shortcomings to be shortcomings;​ faults to be faults. ​
 + 
 +Excepting the eighteenth and ninth root downfalls, when the four binding afflictions are present in connection with the other sixteen root downfalls, then those acts constitute the great binding afflictions. If that clear? In order for sixteen of the root downfalls to be considered being great binding afflictions,​ all four binding afflictions must be complete. ​
 + 
 +In addition to not viewing the act as wrong, the other three binding afflictions are complete, then the root downfall is a great binding affliction. If that’s the case, then there are things we can do to take care so as to avoid incurring a great binding affliction. Though a misdeed might be performed, it doesn’t necessarily constitute a great binding affliction – correct?
 + 
 +Question. What does an individual need to do so that they have to retake the Bodhisattva Vows?
 +Geshe-la. Well,​ if a person discards or gives up bodhicitta then they loose the vows and have to take them again; similarly with holding wrong views. If a person performs any of the other sixteen root downfalls and the four binding afflictions are complete then they loose the Bodhisattva Vow and have to take it again.
 + 
 +Question. Is there an extra penalty? [First part of the question inaudible and not repeated by Ven. Lozang Zopa]
 +Geshe-la. That’s like asking what happens when a person who has the vows of approaching virtue kills a human. Say they kill one human; they loose the vows. Say they kill ten humans – is there anything extra? The negativity is stronger, but they have already lost the vow so there is nothing further in that regard. ​
 + 
 +Question. If you break a vow, can the breakage be purified by practices such as Vajrasattva? ​
 +Ven. Lozang Zopa. The Tibetan word is actually [?]Which means to degenerate or deteriorate,​ and this is translated into English as ‘to break’.
 +Geshe-la. It’s as Geshe-la often says, the recitation of 100 syllable mantra, Vajrasattva for instance, together with the four opponent powers can purify the negativity and the best way to restore the Bodhisattva Vow is to take the vows again.
 + 
 +In the opening verses of Six Session Guru Yoga, there are these verses A3 and A4 which can be recited as if you were repeating after the refuge objects as a way of renewing the Bodhisattva Vows. In Pabonka Rinpoche’s commentary, he explicitly states that when reciting the Six Session Guru Yoga practice, if you recite these verses in question in the manner of repeating, that constitutes the retaking of the Bodhisattva Vows. If you take your time in reciting the Six Session Guru Yoga then every recitation functions as retaking of the Bodhisattva Vows, which is quite something – retaking the Bodhisattva Vows time and time again every single day.
 + 
 +Question. In terms of degeneration of the Bodhisattva Vows, what is the difference between a person who has uncontrived bodhicitta and a person who does not?
 +Geshe-la. There’s not going to be a difference in the way in which the vows are generated in their continuum; the vows are the same. Why?
 +Student. I heard that if a person who does not have uncontrived bodhicitta does not have the actual vows themselves but similar to them.
 +Geshe-la. This issue was bought up a long time ago, its familiar to Geshe-la; he remembers the discussion. There’s a text that puts forth that assertion so there is one position whereby it is said that unless the person has uncontrived bodhicitta they can not generate the vows. But in any case, the position that Geshe-la holds and follows is that you can. There is that alternative position. ​
 +There is indeed this position that says that a person without uncontrived bodhicitta only generates a similitude of the vows and not the actual vows themselves. That is one position – but, whatever the case be, we still need to guard the vows completely. ​
 + 
 +Geshe-la remembers well the context in which this debate occurs. It’s in relation to the fourth chapter of The Ornament of Clear Realisation – perhaps it’s associated with the chapter on the awakening mind, but it’s in connection with this text. The question is: does a person who has not yet entered the Mahayana paths have the vows of engaging bodhicitta or not? It’s in relation to that, that this particular position holds that such a person does not have the vows of engaging bodhicitta. ​
 + 
 +They say that in order to have the vows of engaging bodhicitta you have to generate engaging bodhicitta. We say: no, that’s not required; a person who has not yet entered into the Mahayana paths does have the vows of engaging bodhicitta. Geshe-la pointed out that in entering the Mahayana paths the person necessarily has uncontrived bodhicitta. Correct?
 + 
 +Question. The question is in relation to the seventeenth vow, which reads in English: Passing false judgement, but when you look at the explanation it speaks more about giving the resources of the contemplatives to the reciters. It’s not entirely clear the connection between the phrasing of the downfall itself and the explanation we find in the text. 
 +Geshe-la. It isn’t a very nice translation. Literally it means bad laws so an alternative translation of establishing harmful rules is more true to the Tibetan. Establishing harmful rules has to do with having a certain prejudice towards the people who are in the process of trying to accomplish calm abiding and with that prejudice showing a sense of favouritism to the people who are merely reciting texts. To take the resources of the first, out of this sense of prejudice, and give them to the other ones is a bad policy you might say. 
 + 
 +We can speak about it in greater depth next week. We will leave it there. Good night.
 + 
 + 
 + 
 +
  
six-session_guru_yoga_commentary_geshe_tashi_tsering_of_chenrezig_institute_9.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:13 (external edit)