Four Special Conditions Contemplations:
The First Condition ~ Causal Condition
Given by the 12th Kenting Tai Situpa at Palpung Sherabling, December 2004.
Transcribed by Chang Chin & Changchub Saldon
Teaching Chapter 16 and Practice Chapter 15
Four special conditions contemplations
Up to this point, you have completed the teachings on basic clear thinking, which will make us clearly appreciate the precious human life and understand the impermanence. And then also we are aspired to do the Dharma practice, and finally the Dharma practice is to be free from suffering of Samsara. And that four thought was first contemplation and the purpose of that is fulfilled as you practice this. After that, then four extraordinary preliminary practices, because each one of them is complete practice, through which the practitioner can be enlightened, therefore they are extraordinary. But because the Maha Mudra lineage is covering every aspect of Lord Buddha's teaching, so therefore, these particular methods are categorized and organized as preliminary practice. Then the first two are more purification-oriented practice, first is more physical, and second is more oral and mental-oriented purification practice. Last two practices are accumulation of merit - the Mandala offering and accumulation of wisdom - the Guru Yoga, the Empowerment. So up to that, then these four preliminary contemplation, sort of the contemplation, is very important, because after these then you are involving in all steps of Maha Mudra practice in detail. So these four, which we call kyen, kyen means condition, four conditions are, first of all, to make assessment that how is your condition as a Dharma practitioner. And then further, then conditions should be full and complete. Not only assessment but make it more healthy and complete. So for that, these four conditions are taught as the third preliminary contemplation, and it has four aspects of it. So kyen means condition. And so ju kyen, dhak kyen, mik kyen, de ma tak pe kyen, four kyen.
The first condition ~ Causal Condition
Now the first Ju means cause and kyen means conditions. So Condition which is like the cause. First of all, we have to be very clear that when we practice Dharma, then what are we really doing, what are we really actually doing. Our ultimate aim is to reach Buddhahood; that is what we are doing. So what is the most important reason for attaining Buddhahood, why do we have to attain Buddhahood? It is quite simple because until we reach Buddhahood, we will wander in samsara, just like we are doing right now. From heaven to hell up down here there, everywhere we will wander. Maybe half of our life is gone, maybe three quarters of our life is gone, maybe one third of our life is gone, maybe ninety percent of our life is gone, and another ten percent or fifty percent left and which is also impermanent, and when the last moment comes. Then that's it. And again, we will start somewhere all over as a little puppy, or a little bird or a little human baby, or something like that we will start all over. And so now do we like to go on in samsara, just being born again and again, here there. And sometimes a little bit better, sometimes absolutely terrible, sometimes so so, just like this life. And far as I am concerned, my life is wonderful but it is up to individual perception. And do we really like to go on like this?Or we want to reach our ultimate destination, which is to truly become what we always have been as far as our ultimate potential is concerned, that is limitless liberation and freedom, primordial wisdom, realization of that, what which we call Buddhahood.
So we don't want it to go on like this therefore we want to reach Buddhahood. So that is our ultimate aim. That is what we are doing. Whatever we are doing that is our ultimate goal. Then what is the most serious obstacle for this? We discover and confirm what is the most serious obstacle for this. Most serious obstacle is we don't realize what we really are. We don't realize. Sometimes we even experience what we are for moments, but then it is forgotten. So we really don't know and don't realize and not aware of what we really are. Now this is what we call ignorance or this is what we call ego. We have to have a perception about us, from heaven to hell, everybody call themselves something, and we as a human being, then in English language that is called self, I. Then when there is I, then everything becomes others. Then something that belongs to me, I called mine. And then everything else becomes something that belongs to others. All of this is a fact but it is a big, big illusion. So now until we overcome all of these, we will never be free. Even we run away from everything, we will not be free. We will miss everything. Even we decide not to say the word I or mine, we will not get anywhere, it will just make us crazy. Therefore we have to overcome the shen pa and chak pa for everything that is to do with I.
Shen pa means sort of very much drawn to it, it is like you are somebody, you have a family background, you have a long history, and every one of us has a very important family background, there is nobody who doesn't have. Everybody. All of us have the best bone and the best blood, and we are very proud of it. And so that is shen pa. Shen pa. And we go at quite a lengthy process to confirm about ourselves and we have a lot of shen pa to it. Every beggar in this world who have no home, no food, no money, if you sit next to them and you are willing to listen and you talk to them, and they have a long history about themselves. And every middle class has the same, every rich person has the same, long important history. So we have lots of shen pa to it. And not only our background, but there are so many things around us, about everything including our own religion. You know. We think Buddhism is the best, and there is nothing equal to it. We have lots of shen pa to it. This mala belonged to eighth Tai Situ, and ninth Tai Situ and eleventh Tai Situ. I always carry it with me and I always do not part from it. That is also shen pa.
And then chak pa, chak pa is attachment. We have attachment for all kind of things. I don't have to tell you. Everybody knows. All of you have something that you have lots of attachment for. And the most sacred attachment is attachment to Buddha. So if I can make a Buddha fifty feet high with solid diamond still it is not good enough for me. It is so precious, it is so sacred, it is so important for me. That will never happen, I know. I am just giving you an example. Some kings in Thailand and Burma , make Buddha out of solid gold, twenty, thirty feet high. So this way, it doesn't mean it is bad. Of course shen pa and chak pa for bad things is bad, shen pa and chak pa for good things is good. It doesn't mean shen pa and chak pa for good thing is bad. No. We have to be able to renounce our shen pa and chak pa for bad things. And then slowly, we have to, when we have no shen pa and chak pa at all for worldly things, then we have to overcome the shen pa and chak pa for spiritual things. No shen pa chak pa for this, everybody take it, no. So slowly, slowly, gradually we have to overcome shen pa and chak pa for everything. So step by step, but we have to know that. If we are not able to overcome shen pa and chak pa, even for the highest thing, we will not reach Buddhahood.
There is a story. There was two practitioners, very serious practitioners. They both practicing Vajravarahi but Khachotma. So they're able to, so after many years of practice, they are able to go to the pure land of Khachotma with their physical body, purified physical body. This body, don't have to die, don't have to disappear, they are able to go. Khachotma is red color. So there was miraculous ladder, red color ladder, like rainbow ladder, came down into their meditation cave. One of them had a very good coral mala, on which he had been practicing Khachotma for all his life. Because Khachotma is red color. So he climbed first and then he forgot his mala. He said, he told to his Dharma brother: "you go first, I will go down and get my mala, and then I will come after you." He went down to get his beautiful mala, and then when he went back there was no stair. His Dharma brother already in Khachotma pure land. He end up in the cave practicing for many years. Then Khachotma sent down the red ladder again for him. Maybe that time, I don't know, but maybe his mala is broken already. Maybe he made a Khachotma statue and put it on her. But anyway, so shen pa and chak pa is very, very serious obstacle.
So the first contemplation is ju ye kyen. Ju ye kyen is we all wish to reach Buddhahood, the Buddha essence is in each one of us. So we should overcome all aspects of shen pa and chak pa, therefore there is no chance for attachment, anger, jealousy, pride, all these things to grow, grow. So that is the ju ye kyen. The first contemplation. We contemplate on this subject very clearly and then we know we have certain shen pa and chak pa in worldly things. They are not so good, we must do our best to overcome them. We have some shen pa and chak pa in worldly things, for the time being, necessary, not so bad and necessary. Then we somehow keep them but knowing they are obstacles, but not resenting them, not resenting them. If you resent them, then again it becomes another way of shen pa and chak pa. So somehow recognize it and wish to overcome them. And then we develop clear objective of our practice. We are doing this not for anything else but to reach Buddhahood, for the benefit all sentient beings to reach Buddhahood. Very clear. And then this way even the shen pa and chak pa, for that we also should overcome gradually, and we should know that. Of course right now we need some shen pa and chak pa for enlightenment. We need, you know. Otherwise you have no wish to attain enlightenment, you have no desire to be better. You will never be better. So you have to have that kind of desire right now. But you should know it also you have to overcome later. Because believe it or not, now you are entering in the part, so you are some sort of Maha Mudra yogi, you know. Do you know that? You are becoming Maha Mudra yogi. Of course you are. You are. Yes, some sort of. You know. Yogi means practitioner. Otherwise you can become very strange Buddhist, because you have so much shen pa and chak pa for Buddhism. So you want to make everybody in this world Buddhist, and everybody who does not agree with you, you would be very angry, and you want to fight with them. You know. Then finished. So that is wrong. That is wrong. Everybody's essence is Buddha, sooner or later, they find it out, what is the hurry, you know. If they wish to be free, they will be free. If they don't wish to be free, it's ok. And you pray for them, and not pray to them. Pray for them and one day their essence will manifest. Maybe it will be one billion centuries later, but if they have the time, if they want to spend that much time, it's ok. No big deal, it's O.K. So you should have that compassion, you pray for them but not desperate. No shen pa and chak pa too much. So we will never have fundamental Buddhist. But if we don't know this one, we can have fundamental Buddhist, that would be dreadful. That would be end of Buddhism, the very purpose of Buddhism is finished if we have fundamental Buddhist. We wish all sentient being to become Buddha, that, and we wish all sentient being to become Buddhist, it's totally two different things.
Is Prince Siddhattha Buddhist? So Buddhism derived after the enlightenment of Prince Siddhattha. But the lineage of enlightenment is what Prince Siddhattha followed. It aspired in him many, many million of life times ago. That time he saw a Buddha. I am sure the name is not Buddha, that is Sanskrit of the planet earth language. Buddha Sakyamuni was a poor beggar. When he saw that Buddha, he was so touched and he was so aspired, so the little thing that he had, a bowl full of food, whatever kind of food that he had, he offered that to Buddha, and he said: "May I become like you to make all sentient being like you". That is many, many millions of eon before earth even exists. Beginning of the earth, that I meant our solar system to the end of our solar system is one eon. Beginning of our galaxy which has one hundred million solar systems to the end of our galaxy which has one hundred million solar systems, that is a greater eon. It was many many millions of eons ago, somewhere, in another universe, the Prince Siddhattha was a beggar of that place, and he saw a Buddha there, definitely does not look like us, but look perfect. Perfect. Sakyamuni Buddha as Prince Siddhattha born here and became Buddha, looked like us but perfect. So that is the first special preliminary contemplation. If we have this understanding, this condition, even anything that supposed to make us greedy, everything that supposed to make us angry, everything that supposed to make us jealous, all will become past, all will become practice.
I give you an example. This is most inappropriate example, but it gives you an idea. We have a saying, our saying not Dharma saying, worldly saying. If you are a brave person, if your enemy is brave and powerful that is your glory. This is an inappropriate example, because this is a worldly example. But why I give you this example is that is how the negative things also become part to your enlightenment. If you are, you supposed you are famous, brave warrior and your opponent is a coward, then big problem. So greater that enemy, greater the opponent, then that much glorious the warrior. You don't want to have, a great warrior, you don't want to have a coward opponent. So having this kind of no attachment, no shen pa and no chak pa, then the greater the defilement conditions are there, that much it becomes a practice for you. Just before the enlightenment, Buddha was attacked by all the devil with all aspects of most fierce manifestation. Buddha didn't have to fight with them. Buddha's compassion, the power of compassion all their weapons became rain of flower s. What can they do? They only get convinced. And they only get aspired. So it is the first condition.